For Harrison Scott, the 2017 EuroFormula Open season was one of true domination, with twelve wins out of fourteen races, and such was his advantage he was even able to sit out the season finale!
RP Motorsport have long been the team to beat in EuroFormula Open, with four of the previous five seasons being won by drivers from the Italian outfit, going back to the championships previous incarnation of European F3 Open, with Niccolò Schirò, Ed Jones, Sandy Stuvik and Vitor Baptista triumphing in consecutive seasons between 2012 and 2015.
2016 champion Leonardo Pulcini departed the category to join the GP3 Series, while runner-up Ferdinand Habsburg moved to the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, with third placed Colton Herta also moving on to Indy Lights, which left a new field to fight for 2017 honours.
Scott starts as he means to go on…
Scott joined RP Motorsport ahead of the season opener at the Autodromo do Estoril, where he was joined by Polish racer Alex Karkosik and Italian Ludovico Laurini, but it was the Briton who stole the show, even when the highly rated Jannes Fittje joined the team for the final three rounds of the season.
A pole position in the opening round of the season showed that Scott was the man to beat, and he did the double in Portugal, something that would become a regular occurrence during the year. Only in Spa-Francorchamps and the Hungaroring did he fail to win both races, with Ameya Vaidyanathan and Thiago Vivacqua denying him a clean sweep.
Scott’s worst result came in Hungary with a ninth place finish, thanks to him losing his best time in qualifying thanks to exceeding track limits, while his only other failure to win saw him follow Carlin racer Vaidyanathan home in Belgium.
As well as Estoril, Scott won both races at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, Silverstone in Great Britain, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy and the Circuito de Jerez in Spain, meaning he won the championship by a remarkable 118 points.
Consistency Gives Troitskiy Second and Rookie Title
If Scott was not in the form of his life, Nikita Troitskiy would have had a clear run to the championship, but it was not to be for the SMP Racing-backed Russian, who went through the season without a victory despite nine visits to the podium.
Racing for Drivex School, Troitskiy at least had the reward of taking the rookie championship in 2017, but podium finishes came at Estoril, Paul Ricard, the Hungaroring, Monza and Jerez, before taking one more in the season finale at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Vaidyanathan’s win in Belgium saw him jump into early season contention for the title, but a mid-season slump that saw him fail to finish on the podium for nine consecutive races meant he slipped behind not only Troitskiy but also team-mate Devlin DeFrancesco.
DeFrancesco’s third place was helped by taking victory in the penultimate race of the season at Barcelona, the first race Scott was absent, while his fifth place in the final round meant he denied Vaidyanathan third place by just three points.
Fittje ended up just ten points further back, with the German starting the season with Fortec Motorsports before moving to RP Motorsport, with the eighteen-year-old taking podiums for both teams, with his best result coming with RP at Monza when he finished second to Scott.
Vivacqua victory the high point for Campos Racing
It looked early on that Vivacqua was Campos Racing’s best hope to follow Pulcini’s 2016 championship triumph, and three podiums in the first seven races, including his victory at the Hungaroring, was a good start.
However, as the season went on, the Brazilian increasingly struggled, and he only scored two top-ten finishes in the final six races to fall behind team-mate Simo Laaksonen in the final standings, with the Finn having a more consistent end to the year.
Matheus Iorio started the year with a podium in Portugal but that was as good as it got for the Brazilian, while Petru Florescu started the year with the team but switched to Fortec Motorsports after just three rounds, although his season did not pick up, even after his switch, and he could only muster nine points finishes across the year in finishing tenth in the championship.
Karkosik’s season for RP Motorsport improved as the year went on, and he claimed two podiums at Silverstone and Barcelona, while Scott’s replacement for the finale, Felipe Drugovich, claimed the final win of the season as he assessed his options for the 2018 season.
The only other driver to stand on the podium in 2017 was Raoul Hyman, who had a one-off outing at the Hungaroring and took an impressive debut pole in race one before finishing third in race two.
No one has an answer for Scott’s domination
It is fair to say that for the majority of the season, Harrison Scott’s rivals were just bit players in EuroFormula Open, with the Briton often making them looking distinctively second-rate, which of course many of them weren’t.
Scott won twelve races, taking eleven pole positions and nine fastest laps, while on seven occasions he secured the hat trick, which also included leading every lap. He completely dominated at Paul Ricard, Silverstone and Monza, and despite missing the finale, he was the most deserving of champions at the end of the year.
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*Drugovich, Mawson and Colombo ineligible for points as guest drivers